For years we have been taught that whole grains are very good for us. And, in part, that is true – at least in comparison to processed enriched flours!
However, there is a balance to whole grains. The balance is to be aware that even whole grains raise your blood sugar levels considerably. This is especially true if you are diabetic or have risk from high blood sugar. We will be adding more information and clinical studies data as time permits but this article by Dr. Allen Sears will get you started…
Are Whole Grain Products Good For You?
“Whole grains are your best bet,” declares the Harvard School of Public Health website. “Don’t be afraid of carbs from whole grains. They’re good for you,” the site says.
The modern health industry and big business do a lot of advertising, advising and talking about how good for you whole grains are. And now everyone seems to have fallen for the whole-grain lie – even the smart people at Harvard.
What they should be warning you about are the whole grains.
The whole idea behind eating a grain “whole” is this: Your body breaks down dietary starch – carbohydrates – into glucose, thus spiking your blood sugar. If a grain is left whole, you won’t break it down as fast, and it won’t raise your blood sugar.
It sounds like a nice theory, but it doesn’t work in the real world. Let us delve into this a bit deeper…
Glycemic Index Ratings
The glycemic index measures how quickly food breaks down into glucose in your bloodstream. And the higher a food’s rating is on the glycemic index, the more it raises your blood-sugar level.
Pure glucose has a glycemic index rating of 100. Here are the glycemic index ratings for one serving of some common whole-grain types of bread:
Whole grain bread(generic) – 51
Whole barley kernel bread – 55
Cracked wheat kernel bread – 58
Whole rye kernel bread – 66
Oat bran bread – 68
Here are the glycemic index ratings for a serving of some common snacks:
Potato chips– 54
Snickers candy bar – 55
Coca Cola – 55
Ice cream – 61
Corn chips – 63
(It’s kind of shocking to see how whole grains compare to candy bars and ice cream.) We’re not advising you to replace whole grains with junk food. We’re saying whole grains ARE junk food – at least when it comes to the glycemic index! Even table sugar is only 61 on the glycemic index.
The bottom line here is that big business wants you to keep eating grains. They’re cheap to produce and companies make a fortune selling grain for all those rolls, boxes of cereal and loaves of bread. None of them are natural in that you could not have eaten these processed foods in your native environment. And none of them are “healthy.”
Real health foods are the ones you were designed to eat in your native environment: muscle and organ meat from animals and fish, and every kind of fruit, vegetable, and nut. If it comes packaged in a cardboard box, plastic bag, foil wrapper or Styrofoam container, be careful of what’s in there.
Here are some tips for shopping at the grocery store, so you can stay away from fake “health” food like whole grains:
1. It’s a good idea to stick to the outermost aisles of the grocery store, and don’t eat the processed stuff they sell in the middle aisles. These are loaded with carbs, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives.
2. Choose good quality protein – it’s “guilt-free” food and won’t raise your blood sugar. Grass-fed beef, free-range poultry, cage-free eggs, and wild salmon are all good choices. And except for cashews, which have a 22 on the glycemic index, all nuts have a glycemic index of zero.
3. Choose vegetables low on the glycemic index. Those that grow above ground are good choices – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mushrooms, green beans, leafy green vegetables and tomatoes. Potatoes, which grow below ground, are 104 on the glycemic index.
4. Eat fruits such as berries and those you can eat with the skin on. Cherries, plums, peaches, strawberries and grapes, for example. Also, skip dried fruit and fruit juices (they have added sugar).
(Again, it is not that whole grain foods do not have nutritional value for you – and they are definitely better than processed grain flour. Just be aware that they do boost your blood sugar. Moderation is a key here.)